Good health care must be a priority

As a member of the Everett medical community, I commend The Herald for the editorial that appeared Dec. 7, “Providence makes its case for expansion.” It’s important that the community understand the issues surrounding Providence Everett’s plans for expansion and modernization.

Snohomish County is expected to grow by 50 percent over the next 20 years. This will add 300,000 new residents to our community – residents who will need access to high-quality health care. Yet Providence Everett Medical Center is currently at capacity. If the hospital isn’t allowed to expand, where will our community members get their care? How will we respond when a family member desperately needs care and we’re told there’s “no room”?

As an oncologic surgeon, I’m acutely aware of the need to expand and enhance the cancer care available in this community. One of the first phases of this expansion plan is the construction of a state-of-the-art Comprehensive Community Cancer Center. The cancer care providers of this community have been working in collaboration to make this dream a reality. But to make this happen, the Providence expansion plans must proceed.

As a community, we need to focus on the big picture – ensuring that we continue to have access to health care where and when we need it. Like letter writer Stephanie Larson (“Sorry for caring about quality of life,” Dec. 15) I, too, care about the quality of life in my hometown. I care about all the people in Everett and the greater Snohomish County community. From my perspective, ensuring access to the highest quality health care right here in Everett must be one of our highest priorities.

Thomas J. Smith, M.D.

The Everett Clinic

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